Cake Mix Magic Cupcakes: Chocolate & Vanilla Recipes

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Cake mix magic cupcakes turn out perfect because there’s a science behind the ingredients of a cake mix. And . . . when you add other ingredients, you get the best ever cupcakes, just like magic! Accept all the kudos from your family and friends for this semi-homemade cupcake recipe.

Can you make cupcakes from a cake mix?

Absolutely. Cupcakes are mini cakes, after all. Using a cake mix as the base for your cupcakes is convenient, guaranteed to turn out every time due to the science behind the mix, and encourages you to actually bake because it feels easier & faster than baking from scratch.

Here is the secret to moist cupcakes using a cake mix.

DO NOT add the ingredients as instructed on the box. Use the cake mix as a base and then add the ingredients in the cupcake recipe below. Cake mixes on their own can be dry, but these substitutions and additions create moist cupcakes with a thicker batter with the bonus that it keeps mix-ins (like chocolate chips or nuts) from sinking to the bottom.

Can I make cupcakes without an electric mixer?

Technically, yes. But if you want a lighter, fluffier batter, an electric mixer is best. Mixing means introducing air into the batter and it’s very difficult to whisk your batter fast enough by hand to create the perfect cupcakes you want to serve to family and friends. But – you don’t have to have an expensive stand mixer. Use a hand mixer for the same results.

There’s more magic to Cake Mix Magic Cupcakes.

With the cake mix magic cupcake recipe, you create a thicker batter that holds mix-ins (like chocolate chips) in place and keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake.

Mix-ins are optional, of course. But best ever cupcakes require a special touch. With mix-ins you can create signature cupcakes and no one will ever suspect you started with a cake mix.

Here are a few ideas for mix-ins. Add 1/2 cup of one depending on whether your cupcakes are white or chocolate. (Except for the zest. Use 1 tsp.)

  • chocolate chips
  • small candy pieces (put them in a zippered plastic bag & use rolling pin)
  • shredded coconut
  • nut pieces
  • real bacon bits
  • dried or fresh fruit
  • lemon or lime zest

Chocolate Cake Mix Magic Cupcake Recipe

chocolate cake mix magic cupcakes



  • 1 pkg chocolate cake mix
  • 1 chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 c sour cream
  • ½ c water
  • ¼ c cocoa
  • ¼ c vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp McCormick Pure Vanilla


  • 1 container chocolate icing
  • 1/2 pkg chocolate chips or 1/2 cup of other mix-in
  • sprinkles or other cupcake decorations (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
  2. Beat cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water, cocoa powder, oil, food color, eggs and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed just until moistened, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes.
  3. Pour batter into 24 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.
  4. Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire rack.
  5. Ice with frosting. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Vanilla Cake Mix Magic Cupcake Recipe

To make vanilla cupcakes, substitute a vanilla cake mix and vanilla pudding mix. Delete the cocoa.

Make your cupcakes any flavor you wish by substituting a flavored extract in place of vanilla. Make them any color by adding drops of food coloring, one at a time & mixing, until you get the shade you want. (Directions for mixing drops for different colors will be on the food coloring package.)

Cake Mix Magic Cupcakes: Chocolate & Vanilla Recipes